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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 11, 2011 10:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith's impact on the GD

I was hoping you would respond and possibly take some time to discuss the relationship of a piano to electric guitars and electric bass in the context of the style of music the GD were playing from 72'-74',and maybe also a few comments on his Fender Rhoades and keyboard abilities in the same era.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 11, 2011 10:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith's impact on the GD

I wish I had more articulate specific insight about Keith's style. There's a lot to be said about how keyboard instruments fit (and don't fit) with rock music in general, but that topic is "big" enough that it requires a really long post and it wouldn't necessarily illuminate Keith that much in particular.

I guess I can say that Keith was very good at the "percussive" style of playing (pounding chords in the midrange with accentuated rhythms) and the "decorative" style (filigree in the upper registers) as well as straightforward melodic work. His ability to find the right style and approach for every song and jam was just as important as his skill in picking "good notes" to play.

Keyboard instruments can "do more" than any other instrument in terms of complexity, but they are capable of much less expression on a single note. This means that the piano can rarely do anything that is immediately memorable and emotionally communicative in the manner of an electric guitar solo.

I don't have much in my memory banks that pertains to acoustic vs. electric piano other than acoustic seems to fit better with Americana/country and the Fender is utilized more for a jazzlike approach, which is about what you'd expect.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Aug 12, 2011 8:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith's impact on the GD

I thought the addition of a piano into the soundscape was as big a change as the person playing it.Having that bright,distinct sound added to the mix gave the music a more deliberate feel,less of that swirly,organ based wash of sound.It impacted all the styles the band played in,to the ballads such as Brokedown and Comes a Time it added a delicate accent that seemed to frame Jerry's voice and flesh out the song,on the rockers it ratcheted up that stompin' vibe and gave the songs another layer besides the 3 guitars,on the country stuff it lent a bounce and expansive sense that just made it more country.For the more complex,exploratory side of the bands catalog it just blew things wide open and completely changed the sound of the edgier music,the piano was every bit as psychedelic as the organ,but sonically very different,it forced the musicians to relate differently to create that trippy vibe without that sort of organ backbone.

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Aug 12, 2011 10:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith's impact on the GD

I think in relation to stong guitars that it for the most part a fill/augmenting instrument. This in no way is diminishing Keith's ability for I thought he was the most accomplished keyboard player that fit perfectly. I was partial to the real grand piano and not the electric Yamaha but the Fender Rhoades certainly fit for many songs.No synths here just good keys playing.